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Understanding Exposure: How to Shoot Great Photographs with a Film or Digital Camera [Paperback]

Bryan Peterson
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (163 customer reviews)

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There is a newer edition of this item:
Understanding Exposure, 3rd Edition: How to Shoot Great Photographs with Any Camera Understanding Exposure, 3rd Edition: How to Shoot Great Photographs with Any Camera 4.8 out of 5 stars (147)
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Book Description

1 Aug 2004
More than 100 vivid, graphic comparison pictures illustrate every point in this classic and can help any photographer maximize the creative impact of his or her exposure decisions. Peterson stresses the importance of metering the subject for a starting exposure and then explains how to use various exposure meters and different kinds of lighting. The book contains lessons on each element of the triangle and how it relates to the other two in terms of depth of field, freezing and blurring action, and shooting in low light or at night. A section on special techniques explores such options as deliberate under-and over-exposures, how to produce double exposures, bracketing, shooting the moon, and the use of filters. Understanding Exposure demonstrates that there are always creative choices about how to expose a picture - and that the decision is up to the photographer, not the camera.

Product details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Amphoto Books; Revised edition edition (1 Aug 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0817463003
  • ISBN-13: 978-0817463007
  • Product Dimensions: 27.8 x 20.9 x 1.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (163 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 61,173 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

BRYAN PETERSON is a professional photographer, internationally known instructor, and founder of, The Perfect Picture School of Photography. He is the best-selling author of Understanding Exposure, Understanding Shutter Speed, Understanding Close-Up Photography, Learning to See Creatively Understanding Digital Photography, Beyond Portraiture and, most recently, Bryan Peterson's Understanding Photography Field Guide. His easy-to-understand writing and teaching style breaks down the complex and often confusing aspects of photography, translating them into what his students routinely describe as "aha" moments. His trademark use of colour and strong, graphic composition have garnered him many photographic awards and a strong following. He lives in Chicago.

Product Description

About the Author

Bryan Peterson is the author of the best-selling Learning to See Creatively

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Several years ago, at one of my workshops, I responded with a surprising answer to the often-asked question "Bryan how long have you been shooting?" Read the first page
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Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
182 of 184 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece of a book 31 Oct 2004
Being quite critical towards most photo-books I have come across, this one really deserves all the credit it can get! This books explains all there is to know about the photographic triangle between aperture, shutter time, and ISO. It is a practical book covering most practical shots and it goes further in the sense that it tells you how to do the meter reading with the camera -> something which most books leave conveniently out. Besides from very detailed and well-written information on how to get the right creative exposure, Bryan covers the relevant differences between analogue and digital SLR in this updated version. The book contains the most beautiful and inspiring photos and - yes yes yes - he includes the camera settings on all the photos so that the reader can learn!!! Everything is based on simple rules and metaphors which I am able to remember in the field! This has improved my photography skills -> really what everything should be after when purchasing a new photo book! While Bryan at times can get a bit "snobbish" for my taste, he is a man that has earned his reputation and is very competent in bringing his many years of experience on to the reader. The book also contains some very nice information related to filters and how you can get the exposure you want even the light conditions do not facilitate it. Really great value.
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74 of 75 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read to improve your technique 25 Jun 2006
This book could equally well be named Understanding Exposure and Photographic Composition. Printed on high-quality paper, the images Peterson uses to illustrate his points are all great examples not just of correct exposure, but also of photographic composition.

The author's style is engaging and right from the start, I found myself reaching for my camera to try out his suggestions.

Not only is Peterson a great photographer, he is also a great teacher projecting his enthusiasm for photography onto the reader.

I found this book a more compelling read than any edge-of-our-seat thriller I ever read, only putting it down to go out and shoot some photographs.

After reading this book, I no longer let the camera make my exposure decisions - choice of Aperture, Shutter speed, ISO setting are now concious decisions with a particular effect in mind.

If you want to move from "point & shoot - unpredictable result" to "think, compose, point, shoot - expected result", this is a worthwhile investment.
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56 of 57 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Wow - Absolutely the best book I've read on explaining exposure
and light metering. The author gives you a step by step guide
on exposure, aperture, shutter speed and ISO. He talks to you
in non technical language and gives fantastic photos to explain
the techniques involved. I couldn't put it down from once I
started reading it. This book says it all - Turn off your
automatic setting and start getting creative with aperture and
shutter speed. A really fantastic book and worth every cent.
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65 of 67 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book deserves its reputation 19 July 2006
By A. Butterfield TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
So many people recommended this book that in the end I had to get it. And it's basically just as good as everyone says.

As you'd expect, it runs through the main things you need to know about exposure: using aperture for depth of field, fast shutter speeds for movement and all that stuff that you already know.

Except he seems to add things that you didn't know, or hadn't thought of.

Remember, this is just about exposure, so it's not telling you how to frame shots, or what to take photos of, just how to get the exposure right.

He uses a lot of easily remembered terms, like 'story telling' or 'who cares?' apertures. Some of them seem a bit silly, but there's no doubt you know what he's talking about. Later on, it gets even sillier, when he talks about 'Brother Blue Sky' and Mr Green Jeans' for exposure of skies and green areas. And you think, hang on, I'm not twelve. But I can see the point. If he was very technical about it, you'd never remember, but this way, you're out with your camera, and you think, I'll use Brother Reflecting Sky. Just don't say it out loud.

So Peterson has a knack of putting things over in an easy to comprehend way that's actually useful when you're out taking shots. I tried a few of his techniques straightaway, and they work.

The book is nicely illustrated of course, with good examples to show how the techniques work. It's well written, and genuinely useful if you pretty much understand how to use manual exposure but want to go a step further.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent about exposure 7 Sep 2005
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As a recently converted photo enthusiast I have found this book extremely useful. Understanding exposure is Alpha and Omega to achieve good photos that is not the results of mere chance. Being an aperture priority man myself I found the chapter on aperture especially interesting. For instance I have learnt that what the author calls "who cares?" aperture, f11, gives the best contrast and sharpness, and I now use it frequently when depth of field is of no importance. However, it is much more to this book than that. Buy it and browse through it and I am sure you will find an answer to what you are looking for, explained in a straight forward language beautifully illuminated by the authors own pictures.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A must for any DSLR enthusiast
Excellent reds for any budding DSLR enthusiast. Simple and easy to follow book that really helps you learn how to use your camera.
Published 2 months ago by collyd
5.0 out of 5 stars The only photography book you need
When I started out this is the book that was recommended to me. After buying a couple of dozen books and 10 years later I can tell you that this is the only one you'll need. Read more
Published 3 months ago by R. Brennan
5.0 out of 5 stars photography book
i love all bryan petersons books they are informative and easy to read i would recommend his books to anyone
Published 9 months ago by heather
5.0 out of 5 stars Need to understand exposure? Buy it!
I'm an amateur photographer. A click buff, if you will. This book helped me grapple the details and differences on how to make a correctly measured photograph and an beautifully... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Nuno Filipe Coimbra
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
The spead of delivery was great, and the book is in excellent condition, I am a beginner and this book is giving me the information I need, with photos so I can see what I could... Read more
Published 13 months ago by donna Johnson
4.0 out of 5 stars Useful read
Have now read a couple of Bryan's books. A useful guide with helpful and useful explanations. Comments about film mentioned, but exposure still relevant to digital.
Published 15 months ago by MP
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing book
The first book I bought on photography, years back, and probably the best there is for those who really want to understand what it is all about!
Published 15 months ago by Sasa Domenico Maric
2.0 out of 5 stars Outdated
Bought only to read as I got many colleagues phrasing it, but realized that most info applies only for film photography and a lot of the stuff in it can be found on any beginners... Read more
Published 16 months ago by MindoPhoto
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow! What a book!
Fantastic book. I had problem understanding exposure and how to set my camera in manual mode. After reading this book, the major questions I had now answered. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Mpampis - Xalkida - Greece
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for budding photographers
As a complete beginner to the world of DSLR photography I was feeling a little lost. I bought this book on its good reviews and it has not disappointed. Read more
Published on 8 Feb 2012 by AJD
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